Dali Holiday Calendar – July 2014

BenZhu Birthday Festival – July 2

Celebrations for the birthday of local god, the Ai Min Emperor.

Guanyin Bodhisattva Attainment Day – July 15

Goddess of Mercy, Guanyin, is among the most common and widely worshiped figures in Chinese Buddhism. When confronted with a variety of problems in life, as long one holds the belief Bodhisattva, and recites the Bodhisattva’s name, then she will come to the rescue.

Torch Festival – July 20 to July 21

The Torch Festival or Fire Festival is one of the main holidays of the Yi people of southwest China, and is also celebrated by other ethnic groups around the region. It commemorates the legendary wrestler Atilaba, who drove away a plague of locusts using torches made from pine trees. Since 1993, the government of the Liangshan Yi Autonomous Prefecture in Sichuan has sponsored a modernized celebration of the festival, featuring wrestling, horse racing, dance shows, and a beauty contest. Different groups set the festival at different times.

The Yi, Bai, Naxi, Jinuo, and Lahu minorities in China celebrate this festival. This ancient festival has profound meaning to these groups and has gained popularity both in China and abroad. People have called it the “Carnival of the East”. Most minorities hold the festival on the 24th day of the 4th month on the Chinese Lunar Calendar. The primary activities are bull, sheep, and cock fighting, horse racing, wrestling, singing and dancing, and beauty contests. As living standards have improved and people have become more prosperous, the festival has become grander and grander. The general purpose of the festival has been to celebrate a good harvest, which is generally marked by a dance or ringing of a bell.